Nouvelle Aquitaine Section
Saint Leon sur Vezere - Dordogne-Périgord
Saint Leon sur Vezere ranked among the Plus Beaux Villages de France
The village, named after Sanctus Leontius - Saint Léonce, has been inhabited since the Gallo-Roman era.
The Romanesque Church of Saint Leonce was in fact erected on the site of a Roman villa.
The church was part of a Benedictine priory founded in the 12th century and dependent of the Abbey of Sarlat.
The priory was listed Historical Monument in 1941 and the church in 1942, because it is a superb illustration of Périgord architecture.
It was built on a Latin cross plan with a vaulted apse and chapels and is roofed with the traditional lauzes, slabs of local limestone.
Manoir de la Salle and Chateau de Clérans
Saint Leon sur Vezere is a tiny and picturesque village.
It boasts a series of beautifully restored old houses delineated from each other by tiny alleys and courtyards.
It also boasts two castles!
Le Château or Manoir de la Salle sits in heart of the village and is adjacent to the former priory.
The castle consists of a mansion or manoir and a 14th century square tower crowned by machicolations.
The keep was built in dry stone and has a four-sided roof covered with lauzes.
The castle’s facades and roofs were classified Historical Monument in 1957.
Le Manoir de la Salle is a private property and is not open to the public.
The Château de Clérans is a superb Renaissance building erected during the 16th century on the bank of the Vézère.
It is also privately owned and therefore not open to the public.
You can, however, get good views of its turrets from the riverside.
Finally, the cemetery, located by the entrance to the village, offers its share of surprise.
It contains a tiny 14th century chapel roofed with lauzes, which once served as a Lantern Tower to the Dead.
As a result, the tiny and surprising village of Saint Leon sur Vezere is ranked among the Most Beautiful French Villages.
Department of Dordogne
Coordinates Saint Leon sur Vezere: Lat 45.011300 - Long 1.088113